Fixing the Genes

Gene therapy, heralded in the early 1990s, then stalled by one setback after another, is finally starting to live up to its promise

Eight years after the heart-bypass operation that saved his life, Floyd Stokes was in deep trouble again. His angina had returned with a vengeance. He was gulping nitroglycerine tablets and was virtually incapacitated, unable to do simple chores on his Seminole, Texas, ranch. Too far gone for another bypass, he had a choice, as he puts it, of "just waiting for death or trying to do something about it."

Stokes chose to survive. He volunteered to take part in a novel clinical trial about to be conducted on heart patients by Dr. Jeffrey Isner at the St. Elizabeth Medical Center in...

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